In this Sunday’s sermon we talked about the great debate between Law and Grace. If you would like a short and helpful little scholarly book on this subject, get your hands on Alva J. McClain’s book Law and Grace is an excellent read! One of the temptations for us as Christians is to think that God saves us by grace through faith in Christ, but then think we are going to now live the Christian life by our own effort or our own works. We’re afraid grace will lead to license, so we’d better err on the side of legalism, right? Not so fast. In the letter to the Galatians, Paul makes it clear that we are saved by grace though faith in Christ and will live by grace through faith in Christ too because apart from Him we can do nothing. One of my favorite illustrations (and most of you know this already but I remind us anyway) that demonstrates why grace will outperform Law every time is that of the country dog vs. the city dog.
A city dog lives under Law. It lives under restrictions. It has boundaries. A leash, a collar, a chain, and a fence to keep it from getting loose and running free. His obedience is forced upon him. “No, no, no,” he is told. So what’s the first thing that the city dog when you let him off his leash and open the gate? He wants to book it! To run free! He’s tired of it! – same with the Law. Law produces rebellion. The power of sin is the law. It’s a supercharger for sin (2 Cor. 3:6-12; Romans 7). By the way, the problem is not in the Law but in us. We have a law of sin at work in the member of our body called the sin nature that is triggered by the Law (Rom. 7).
The country dog, on the other hand, lives under grace. It doesn’t have the restrictions a city dog has. When I lived in the country at our family farm, our dog never had a leash or chain or fence. It didn’t even have a collar for that matter! A country dog has all the freedom in the world to run around and explore and have a good ole time! But where do you find the country dog most of the time? Right at home, sitting peacefully on the porch, waiting eagerly for his master to come home. Grace has a similar effect on us. It produces this overflowing obedience that the master desires. This is why we want to be actuated by grace. We live and serve Christ from our position in Him – knowing we have been accepted – and we are not living or serving for acceptance. No true Christian work for the Lord is ever done in our own efforts. It is accomplished not by man’s might, nor by man’s power, but by God’s Spirit (Zech. 4:6). Since Eden, Satan has been trying to get us to operate independently of God, but we weren’t designed to operate apart from Him! We were made to operate from grace, not for grace. Grace isn’t earned.
In the following chart below, I recommend that you compare and contrast what the Bible says about the difference between Law and Grace. I think by the end of it you will see that there is no reason why anyone should ever even want to tip toe over into Law. It has a deadly effect on us spiritually. Grace, however, brings life and peace and true spiritual fruit for God!
In His grace with you,
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